1 UNIVERSITY GOVERNANCE AND ACADEMIC RESEARCH CASE STUDIES OF RESEARCH UNITS IN DUTCH AND ENGLISH UNIVERSITIES
2 ISBN , L. Leišytė Alle rechten voorbehouden. Niets uit deze uitgave mag worden verveelvoudigd, opgeslagen in een geautomatiseerd gegevensbestand, of openbaar gemaakt, in enige vorm of op enige wijze, hetzij elektronisch, mechanisch, door fotokopieën, opnamen of enig andere manier, zonder voorafgaande schriftelijke toestemming van de auteur. Voor zover het maken van kopieën uit deze uitgave is toegestaan op grond van artikel 16B Auteurswet 1912 j o, het besluit van 20 juni 1974, Stb. 351, zoals gewijzigd bij het Besluit van 23 augustus 1985, Stb. 471 en artikel 17 Auteurswet 1912, dient men de daarvoor wettelijk verschuldigde vergoedingen te voldoen aan de Stichting Reprorecht (Postbus 882, 1180 Amstelveen). Voor het overnemen van gedeelte(n) uit deze uitgave in bloemlezingen, readers en andere compilatiewerken (artikel 16 Auteurswet 1912) dient men zich tot de uitgever te wenden. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system of any nature, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying or recording, without prior written permission of the author. Cover design: Lucy Keizer, Communication Department, University of Twente, the Netherlands. Printed by UNITISK, the Czech Republic. Published by CHEPS/UT, Post box 217, 7500 AE Enschede,
3 UNIVERSITY GOVERNANCE AND ACADEMIC RESEARCH Case studies of research units in Dutch and English universities DISSERTATION To obtain the doctor s degree at the University of Twente under the authority of the Rector Magnificus prof. dr. W.H.M. Zijm, on account of the decision of the graduation committee to be publicly defended on Wednesday 28 November 2007 at by Liudvika Leišytė born on 6 May 1974 in Sankt Petersburg/Leningrad
4 This dissertation has been approved by the promoters: Prof. Dr. J. Enders Dr. H. F. de Boer
5 To my parents who always believe in me
6 Other members of the graduation committee: Prof. Dr. R. Deem Prof. Dr. J. Huisman Prof. Dr. S. Kuhlmann Prof. Dr. U. Schimank Prof. Dr. W. van Rossum
7 Preface I have come to the end of the journey of writing my PhD dissertation. Now it is time to celebrate this event and say a special thanks to all who helped me in this process. First and foremost, my deep gratitude goes to my promoter Prof. Jürgen Enders who continuously guided and encouraged me during this research. I thank him for his patience and availability which enabled my thoughts to mature and grow, and ideas to crystallize. I am deeply indebted and privileged to have been able to work on the DFG project that was acquired by Jürgen Enders for CHEPS. Because of this project and the freedom to manoeuvre that I was given by my promoter, I could develop a theoretical framework, carry out the fieldwork and explore the data largely in the way I preferred. Further, my deep gratitude goes to my supervisor Dr. Harry de Boer. His comments and sharp eye kept my research on track, especially when it came to the Dutch higher education and research realities. I especially thank him for the help with the Dutch data and the numerous hours we spent in good spirits doing interviews together in the Netherlands and analyzing the data. I thank both my promoter and supervisor for the numerous stimulating conversations that undoubtedly led to some breakthroughs in the research process. Financial support from the Institute of Governance Studies (IGS) at Twente University has been indispensable in carrying out my PhD research. IGS has also been helpful in offering a stimulating theoretical course in my first year. I would like to express my gratitude to the German Research Foundation (DFG) for the project funding to carry out fieldwork in England and the Netherlands. The DFG project allowed me to participate in an international research project team that inspired me with its conceptual discussions, useful comments and suggestions, and provided a stimulating international research environment. Here in particular I would like to thank the project team that included colleagues from Kassel and Hagen. Another round of thanks goes to my English colleagues who hosted me for the duration of my fieldwork in the UK. They provided not only office and home space, but also gave me invaluable advice on conducting interviews at English universities. I also cannot forget my friends from England for providing social support. A word of gratitude must go to all interviewees in England and the Netherlands, who agreed to participate in the study, shared their valuable time with me and were open in their answers and discussion on the pertinent issues.
8 8 Many thanks go to my CHEPS colleagues, who were extremely supportive and to whom I feel deeply indebted for their understanding and humour, especially on Friday afternoon borrels. One of the reasons for coming to CHEPS was its team and collegial spirit and my experience over the past four years confirms this. I appreciate the supportive conversations at CHEPS, the learning experience of organizing the CHEPS summer school in Vilnius, and the opportunities of being involved in consultancy work abroad. I am grateful to my colleagues for their helpful comments on my writings and inexhaustible discussions. I would also like to express my gratitude to fellow PhDs and CHEPS visitors who created a friendly environment of social gatherings that allowed me to thrive and realize that there is life outside the PhD as well. Here a very special thanks goes to Marc Kaulisch, who was my office mate for four years, with whom I shared many long hours working as well as partying. I also very much appreciate the support during the last stretch of the PhD writing up process from Andrea. The friendship of my office mates meant a lot to me in an endeavour that can sometimes be very lonely. I would also like to thank Aleksandra as we shared some very nice conversations and times together. I am grateful to the CHEPS secretariat for all their support. In particular, I thank Monique, Gillian, Marlies, and Karin for transcribing the interviews and taking care of logistics, Marwine for searching for literature, and Hilly and Mirjam for their patience and help with the financial matters. I would like to thank Michael Maier for the editorial help that made this dissertation more readable. Special thanks also go to David Regeczi, Tembile Kulati, and Keith Fortowsky who chipped in with editorial comments. Further, my deep gratitude goes to my friends outside CHEPS; I would like to especially thank Nadine for her consistent support in the last days of writing. I appreciate my friends in Enschede who provided me with a lively social environment and helped with settling down in Enschede David, Loreta, Marija, Mutasem, Svetlana, Tanya, Tembile, Tomas, Tore, Vincent and Žygimantas. Finally, I want to thank my mother, who shares her strength with me and supports me in many ways. Her constant prayers and love were indispensable during this dissertation writing process. I appreciate the sharp advice and downto earth attitude of my father. I am also grateful to Dainius for all the support and sharing the good and bad times and especially thank you for formatting the thesis.
9 Contents Preface 7 Contents 9 List of Tables 13 List of Figures 15 1 Introduction Governance of higher education and research Problem statement Expectations of the study The structure of the study 23 2 Theoretical considerations: the link between institutional environment and organisational response From government to governance Introduction Shifts in governance of higher education and research Organisational responses to institutional change Resource dependence perspective Neo institutional perspective The two perspectives compared The credibility cycle model of the research organisation Basic research units in a changing institutional environment Expectations 53 3 Methodological Considerations Multi level analysis Operationalisation Dimensions of governance Perceptions of basic research units Responses and practices of basic research units Research design Multiple case study design Case selection Data collection Data analysis Limitations 80
10 10 4 Shifts in governance in higher education and research systems of England and the Netherlands England The main actors in higher education and research system in England Higher education and research policies since 1980s The Netherlands The main actors in higher education and research in the Netherlands Higher education and research policies since 1980s Conclusion Basic research units in Biotechnology and Medieval History Biotechnology Biotechnology in England Biotechnology in the Netherlands Medieval history Medieval history in England Medieval history in the Netherlands Perceptions, practices and responses of basic research units in England Medieval history in England: cases A1 and B Brief characteristics of the two groups Perceptions of the institutional environment Research practices and responses Biotechnology in England: cases C1 and D Brief characteristics of the two groups Perceptions of the institutional environment Research practices and responses Summary of the perceptions, practices and responses of English research units Perceptions, practices and responses of basic research units in the Netherlands Medieval history in the Netherlands: cases E1 and F Brief characteristics of the two basic research units E1 and F Perceptions of the institutional environment Research practices and responses Biotechnology in the Netherlands: cases E2 and F Brief characteristics of the two basic research units E2 and F Perceptions of the institutional environment Research practices and responses Summary of the perceptions, practices and responses of Dutch research units 307
11 11 8 The influence of shifts in governance on basic research units Shifts in governance in higher education and research in England and the Netherlands Perceptions of the institutional environments in England Perceptions of the institutional environments in the Netherlands Responses and practices Problem choice Mainstream and risky research Output preferences Teaching research nexus Revisiting the research expectations Conclusion: university governance and academic research Introduction Outcomes of the study Governance models and the research units perceptions of their institutional environments Strategic responses and research practices: an overview Strategic responses and research practices: reflections Summary Reflection on theory and methodology Using the five dimension governance model Choice of countries and disciplines The use of organisational theories Connectedness of academic responses and practices Further research avenues 372 Nederlandstalige samenvatting 375 Appendix I: List of abbreviations 391 Appendix II: List of interviewees 395 Appendix III: Examples of interview protocols 399 Appendix IV: Examples of questionnaires 405 References 411
13 List of Tables Table 3.1. The cases of the study Table 6.1. Strategies used by English basic research units Table 7.1. Strategies used by Dutch basic research units
15 List of Figures Figure 2.1. The credibility cycle as developed by Latour and Woolgar (1979) Figure 2.2. The credibility cycle of a basic research unit and its institutional environment Figure 4.1. Research active academic staff (FTE) in English institutions, by RAE rating
17 1 Introduction A philosopher is a person who knows less and less about more and more, until he knows nothing about everything. A scientist is a person who knows more and more about less and less, until he knows everything about nothing. J. Ziman Governance of higher education and research New governance approaches are at the forefront of discussions on public sector reforms, including higher education and research (de Boer, Enders, & Leisyte, 2007). Rethinking governance has led to new institutional arrangements in coordinating the public sectors (Kooiman, 2000; Mayntz, 1998). Authorities and powers for the allocation of (public) goods and services have been redistributed across the various policy levels. Traditional patterns of power distribution and interaction seem to be vanishing. In many countries, coordination has changed from a classical form of state dominated regulation in parallel with professional self governance to forms in which various actors at various policy levels govern the system. This development is reflected in a growing literature addressing the shift from government to governance (de Boer, Enders, & Schimank, 2007). The social science literature shows an impressive list of definitions, concepts, and typologies on governance and the principle modes of coordination of social action. In higher education and research the analysis of governance systems has had a prominent place for more than two decades. Various concepts and models of higher education governance have been developed and extensively discussed, both by researchers and practitioners (Braun & Merrien, 1999; Clark, 1983; Maassen & van Vught, 1994). One way of looking at the shifts in governance in higher education and research is by observing and analysing governmental reforms. Following Pierre and Peters (2000) state centric view, governmental reforms may be a good point of reference for the analyses of shifts in governance and their consequences. Such reforms imply changing rules of the game in higher education and research. A new type of institutional environment has been created for most of the involved actors. The interactions among and positions of actors at the various policy levels are changing.
18 18 In our study we are particularly curious about the consequences of the shift from government to governance for the practices at the bottom level in the higher education and research system. Do academics experience shifts in governance? How do they respond to the changing nature of their game? What effects does it have on their research practices? We intend to answer these questions to further our understanding of the effects of governance changes on the daily lives of academics. In this respect the study contributes to earlier research on governance reforms and changes in the academic knowledge production. Many scholars have explored governance reforms and the rise of managerialism in a comparative perspective in greater detail (Amaral, Jones, & Karseth, 2002; Braun & Merrien, 1999; Currie, De Angelis, De Boer, Huisman, & Lacotte, 2003; de Boer, Enders, & Schimank, 2007; Goedegebuure, Kaiser, Maassen, & De Weert, 1994; Kehm & Lanzendorf, 2006; Kogan & Hanney, 2000). They trace the developments of a shift from government to governance at mainly macro and organisational levels in higher education in different countries and different periods. The major insights of these studies highlight how different higher education and research reforms influence the changes in university governance. Further extensive body of knowledge is in the studies of changing academic knowledge production and organisation of knowledge, change and stability in identities, disciplines, and autonomy (Becher & Trowler, 2001; Bleiklie & Henkel, 2005; Clark, 1996; D. D. Dill & Sporn, 1995; Enders, 2001; Geiger, 1985; Hazelkorn, 2003; Henkel, 2000a; Rip, 2002; Ziman, 2000). These studies contribute to a further understanding of the changing structures and process within the universities as a result of macro level reforms. In particular, they look at individual and sub organisational levels to understand the continuity and change in academic activities. A third example of the studies focusing on the effects of macro level reforms on the micro level includes studies focusing on a particular reform and assessing its impact. For instance, quality reforms spurred a range of studies of the affects of quality assessment on different aspects of academic work at universities. More specifically, they look at the influence on autonomy, accountability, and academic identity (Brown, 2004; de Boer, Enders, & Westerheijden, 2005; Kogan, 1989; Lucas, 2006; Stensaker, 2004; Thune, 2000). Our study aims to compliment the literature on the effects of macro level reforms on one of the major functions of the academic enterprise research. We apply a multi level approach exploring the shifts in governance at the macro level and noting the repercussions at organisational and sub organisational levels.
19 Problem statement Shifts in governance in higher education and research lead to a different institutional environment for basic research units. This implies changing audiences, rules, norms, and values that govern higher education and research. We assume that shifts in governance in higher education and research aim at influencing universities and their basic research units and want to understand how such processes work. Basically, we want to investigate how the university s basic research units perceive their institutional environments, how they respond to them, and what it means for their research practices. We will investigate these questions in England and the Netherlands; two countries that have higher education systems with clearly different roots, both having undergone public sector reforms but at a different timing and to a different degree. The central problem statement of the thesis is: What are the effects of the governance models on research practices in university basic research units in England and the Netherlands? We address this problem statement through the following four research questions: 1. What are the governance models in higher education and research? 2. How do basic research units perceive their institutional environment? 3. How do basic research units respond to their institutional environment? 4. How do these responses influence their research practices? The overall research problem is addressed by applying a conceptual framework combining resource dependence and neo institutional theories together with the credibility cycle of a research unit. The focus is on understanding and interpreting the complex interaction between a suborganisational unit and its institutional environment. Both resource dependence theory and neo institutional theory suggest that organisational responses are to some extent shaped by the environment with which the organisation interacts. Resource dependence theory postulates that it is important for organisations to control their dependencies on resources and reduce environmental uncertainty by exercising power, control, and negotiation. The neo institutional theory states that organisations survive due to conformity to external rules and norms. A combination of these two theoretical perspectives offers a range of principle responses of actors to the institutional environments. However, to interpret the responses of a basic research unit we turn to the credibility cycle model of the research organisation. The credibility cycle was developed by Latour and
20 20 Woolgar (1979) and is understood as a cycle where researchers turn their inputs into outputs that increase their credibility and as a result attract more resources. Always concerned with their credibility cycle, researchers see their institutional environment as instrumental in building their credibility and gaining resources. Such characteristics of researchers play a role in the perception of their environment and may influence their responses to that environment. Our study focuses on one of the major functions of a university academic research. Research practices are understood as the practices of academics leading to the advancement of knowledge in a certain field via scholarly inquiry that aims to extend the knowledge base in a systematic way. They are understood in relation to the academic community. This community represents a set of values and norms embedded in a social structure that surrounds researchers. The norms of communalism, universalism, disinterestedness, originality, and scepticism are at the core of the academic community (Ziman, 2000, p. 174). Research practices are also likely to be influenced by changes in other parts of the researcher s institutional environment. Shifts in governance are not neutral and are among other things supposed to impact the primarily and dominantly self driven activity of self governed academic communities. As we see later, institutional change may be enacted to achieve efficiency gains within the academic research system. Such attempts of achieving more output with the same or less input aim at affecting traditional operations, criteria of knowledge production, and academic values, albeit not (necessarily) directly. Further, policies increasingly refer to academic research as a possible source of application, innovation, and contribution to the economy of the country. Research priority setting and accountability measures that stress the relevance and problem solving capacity of academic research have gained ground. A more utilitarian perspective on the economic potential of academic research is visible (Ziman, 1994, 2000). To analyse the effects of changes in the institutional environment on the academic workplace, we discern four dimensions of research practices derived from the literature (Clark, 1991; Dilts, Haber, & Bialik, 1994; Elzinga, 1985; Enders & Fulton, 2002; Gläser, Laudel, Hinze, & Butler, 2002; Rip, 2002; Ziman, 2000). In looking at research practices at universities, the dimensions tackled in this study are: problem choice, risky and mainstream research, research output preferences, and the teaching research nexus. Problem choice is understood as the autonomy of a researcher to choose research themes. The second dimension focuses on the dichotomy between mainstream and risky research. Mainstream research is in our study regarded as the critical mass and the variety pool on which risky research can be built and lead to major breakthroughs. Risky research in this context means a scholarly inquiry with highly unpredictable results. The third dimension is about the choices researchers make about the dissemination of their
21 research results and which audiences they want to reach. Finally, the teachingresearch nexus dimension is understood as the extent to which both teaching and research are linked with each other. Our study covers three levels: the macro level, the organisational level, and the sub organisational or shop floor level. Each level has its own interrelated features and dynamics and includes a nesting effect, that is, what goes on at one level constrains or enables what goes on another. The aim of this multi level analysis is to analyse the responses of certain basic research units to their institutional environment, assuming that they have nested internal and external components. We conduct a multiple case study that examines similarities and differences in the responses of selected research units to changing institutional environments at a given moment of time. England and the Netherlands were selected according to the traditional differences in higher education governance models: Anglo Saxon and Continental (Clark, 1983). We selected medieval history and biotechnology as representatives of distinct research cultures of soft and hard (Biglan, 1973) fields of research in two countries. The major unit of analysis is the university s basic research unit. These units organisationally embedded within departments, institutes, or research centres of universities have their own administrative, physical, and academic existence. They are regarded as the smallest organisational, collective part of a university. These basic research units have their own organisational behaviour and setting and are supposed to act on the basis of their own interests and those of its individual members. These research units can be regarded as corporate actors that strive for the preservation of their existence pooling resources together into a separate body (Coleman, 1990). The unit can be seen then as having its own interests and being a semi autonomous body. This implies it has a life of its own, while at the same time it interacts with its institutional environment on which it and depends. In our study we assume that basic research units try to safeguard or increase their credibility to conduct the research activities they prefer. Given the theoretical points of departure discussed so far, both the resource dependence and neo institutional theories offer a range of principle responses to the institutional environments. We have argued that the types of responses of basic research units will depend on the level of certainty/uncertainty found in their environment. Environments differ according to the level of certainty/uncertainty found regarding the resources available and the possibility to transfer resources into credits to build reputation following the credibility cycle model. Based on the insights of the theoretical framework we have three expectations on how basic research units will respond to their institutional environment. 21
22 Expectations of the study Based on our conceptual framework we propose three expectations in this study: 1. We expect that when there is low uncertainty in the institutional environment (sufficient resources are available and they are successfully transferred into credits to build reputation) research units will retain stability in their activities and create proactive strategies to manipulate and influence the environment. This expectation is based on the assumption that organisations prefer certainty, stability and predictability. In line with this argumentation, we expect organisations to become more confident in their activities and their further acquisition of resources and legitimacy when uncertainty is low, because they feel less threatened by changes in their institutional environment. Under this condition, the manipulation of institutional values and the constituents that express them may be the likely strategies for achieving organisational goals. 2. We expect that when research units have high credibility within their institutional environment and there is high uncertainty in the institutional environment (pressure of cutting resources or threatening reputation building of research units), they will symbolically respond by adapting formal structures and creating de coupling strategies for their activities, thus ensuring symbolic change. This expectation is based on the argument that when the environmental context is highly uncertain, organisations will attempt to re establish the control and stability over future organisational outcomes. This can provide an impetus to create strategies to protect the gained capital, and to symbolically adapt to the external pressures by de coupling the core activities from the institutional environment. The units that have accumulated high credibility, that is, high reputation, are thus likely to afford little change if any in their core activities even given high uncertainty regarding other resources. 3. We expect that when research units have low credibility within their institutional environment and there is high uncertainty in the institutional environment (pressure of cutting resources or threatening reputation building of research units), they will comply with the institutional pressures and change their core activities. This expectation is based on the theoretical assumption that organisations will attempt to re establish stability in their environment by coping with trouble. Accordingly, the research units with low credibility will be forced to change their activities as they depend on their resource providers. We expect that they will try to re establish the stability over organisational outcomes by using compliance strategies.
23 The structure of the study The study consists of three major parts: conceptual, empirical and reflective. The conceptual part includes the theoretical considerations and methodological underpinnings of the study. Chapter 2 presents our conceptual and theoretical framework to study the shifts in governance in England and the Netherlands and the interaction between the institutional environment and the basic research units. The chapter starts with the exploration of shifts in governance in general and then focuses on the models that have been developed in the higher education literature. In the second part of this chapter, we develop a theoretical framework to study the interaction between the basic research units and their institutional environment. We explore how resource dependence and neo institutional theories can complement each other and link them to the credibility cycle model. Chapter 3 presents the methodological underpinnings of the study. It starts with the description of the multi level analysis and the operationalisation of the concepts used in the study. We elaborate upon governance dimensions, perceptions of basic research units, and responses and practices of basic research units. Further, we present the research design of our study, drawing attention to the multiple case design, case selection, data collection, and analysis. Finally, we explore the possible pitfalls of the study. The second part includes the empirical Chapters 4, 5, 6 and 7. Chapter 4 describes and interprets the shifts in governance in the higher education and research systems of England and the Netherlands. Chapter 5 provides the reader an introductory overview of the case studies in biotechnology and medieval studies in the two countries. Chapters 6 to 7 present and interpret the outcomes of the case studies. Each chapter presents four case studies in one country, beginning with medieval studies followed by biotechnology. The final part of the study, consisting of Chapters 8 and 9, provides interpretation of and reflection on the outcomes of the study. In Chapter 8, we present and interpret the shifts in governance and how they are perceived by the eight basic research units. Further, we compare how the basic research units respond to their institutional environment and what it has meant for their research practices. Here we look at the strategies they developed and revisit the three expectations of the study. In the conclusion, Chapter 9, we present the major outcomes of the study and answer the questions of the study. We close our study with a discussion and possible avenues for further research.
25 2 Theoretical considerations: the link between institutional environment and organisational response This chapter introduces the theoretical considerations for our study on the potential effects of shifts in governance on basic research units in universities. We look at internal and external governance of universities since both are part of the relevant institutional environment of universities organisational sub units that is, research units. Internal governance refers to the institutional arrangements within universities (e.g., lines of authority, decision making processes, financing, and staffing) whereas external governance refers to the institutional arrangements on the macro or system level (e.g., laws and decrees, funding arrangements, evaluations). Governance is thus understood as the external and internal coordination in higher education and research that may be of relevance for universities research units. The potential influence of shifts in governance on the basic research units is theorized with the help of the resource dependence theory and the neo institutional theory. Additionally, we introduce the concept of the research credibility cycle as a heuristic tool to better understand what institutional environments may mean for the practices of basic research units. This chapter is structured as follows. Before we address how basic research units may respond to changes in their environments we discuss why and what kinds of changes have taken place. First, we look at shifts in governance in the public sectors in general and in higher education and research in particular. Both external and internal governance arrangements will be addressed by looking at the overall debates around changes in the coordination of public sectors. Generally, these changes have been indicated as a shift from government to governance. Further, we concentrate on the governance literature in higher education and research, on how shifts in governance can be conceptualized in this field, and on how higher education and research are affected by the overall changes in public sector governance. In other words, we study the shifts in internal and external governance to understand the institutional dynamics that took place in order to see what kind of institutional environment has been created for the universities research units at the point in time our study was undertaken. We follow this line of reasoning since we assume that the shifts in governance aim at influencing universities and their organisational sub units. Policy formation and policy implementation are however, two different things in a policy cycle. Many implementation studies reveal that human behaviour is not as
26 26 easily or directly affected as intended and unintended effects have frequently been observed. Due to, among other things, the different levels involved in such a process and the agent s degree of autonomy, implementation may (partly) be blocked or may change policies to a certain extent (Mazmanian & Sabatier, 1983; Sabatier, 1999) Also, it usually takes time before reforms sink in and affect action at the shop floor level. To advance our knowledge we must better understand how social actors perceive their institutional environments, how they respond to them, and what this means for their work practices. For this purpose we presume that two theories, resource dependence theory and neo institutionalism, will prove useful in conceptualising the relationship between a basic research unit as an organisational entity and its institutional environments. There is an understanding among social scientists that an organisation does not exist in a vacuum, but interacts with its environment to achieve its objectives; it depends on its environment for critical resources. As Gornitzka (1999, p. 237) notes, two main theories share this understanding: the resource dependence (Pfeffer & Salancik, 1978) and the neo institutional theory (DiMaggio & Powel, 1983; J. W. Meyer & Rowan, 1977). Both offer propositions to explain the relationship between the organisation and its environment. They see organisations as open systems (Katz & Kahn, 1966) that are interdependent with those elements of the environment with which they transact (Pfeffer, 1982, p. 192). Organisations work to reduce uncertainty and ensure survival (DiMaggio, 1983, p. 3). Both theories note that organisational choice and action are limited by various pressures and demands, and organisations try to survive by creating certain strategies (Oliver, 1991). These two theories can serve as a tool to look at the complex relationships between basic research units and their institutional environments. To understand what these interactions mean for the basic research units practices we also wish to conceptualize the dynamics of the research unit itself. Research units are part of scientific communities, and have their own logic and cultures (Becher & Trowler, 2001) that must be taken into account when looking at the basic units in their institutional environments and their responses to change. For this purpose we introduce the credibility cycle (Latour & Woolgar, 1979). This concept helps in making sense of the specifics of the world of science, where reputation is the most important asset of researchers and research units. The credibility cycle and its focus on reputation building and maintenance are important because we cannot expect to understand the responses of basic research units to their institutional environment without incorporating the norms and values of the social actors of which they consist, in our case the researchers. At the end of this chapter the combination of the three approaches leads us to a number of expectations on the responses of basic research units to their institutional environment.
27 27 In the following we subsequently develop our line of argumentation in addressing shifts in governance before we turn to organisational theories and the credibility cycle. 2.1 From government to governance Introduction During the last decades traditional state centred governing arrangements have been critiqued and replaced by alternative modes of governance (Kooiman, 2000). A broad literature suggests that this shift driven by economic, ideological, and pragmatic motives (Kickert, 1997; Pollitt & Bouckaert, 2000) has modified the forms and mechanisms, the location, the governing capabilities, and the styles of governance (van Kersbergen & van Waarden, 2001). These changes from government to governance have sometimes been parallel to the introduction of new public management (NPM) approaches in public sectors with the idea of enhancing the quality of public services in terms of increasing their transparency, efficiency, and effectiveness. New governance approaches have been at the forefront of discussions on public sector reform, including higher education (de Boer, Enders, & Leisyte, 2007). Less government and more governance has become the widely shared credo (Mayntz, 1998; van Kersbergen & van Waarden, 2004) stimulated by a number of inter related developments (Pierre & Peters, 2000). The first and most important reason to reassess traditional governance arrangements has been the economic recession and consequent problems of public expenditures in continuously growing public systems. Many public sector reforms, including those in higher education, are financially driven and are looking for efficiency gains (Pollitt and Bouckaert 2000). Second, developments such as globalisation, internationalisation, and Europeanisation have also questioned traditional nation state centred modes of governance. Literally, games without frontiers require new rules and pose new governance questions for actors such as states. Moreover, (new) powerful international actors have entered the scene (the European Union, the World Bank, the World Trade Association or the Organisation for Economic Co operation and Development) that are promoting changes in the governance of public sectors. Third, there has been a certain disillusion with the governance capacities of governments and a related distrust in public sector performance. In
28 28 many countries governments have been blamed for not living up to public expectations with respect to resolving societal problems (Pollitt, 1996). Fourth, there has been a partly ideologically driven shift towards the market as a promising form of self regulation in public service provision. Public sector organisations such as universities are encouraged to compete with each other and to sell their services on various markets. This also requires a rethinking of various governance arrangements (Texeira, Jongbloed, Dill, & Amaral, 2004). Fifth, the rise of new public management as a new organisational approach for the public sector stimulated the rethinking of governance. According to this approach, public sector organisations should be managed in a more business like way. Borrowing instruments and methods from the private sector should create organisations in which managers have the right and opportunities to manage (Pollitt, 1996). Rethinking governance has led to new institutional arrangements in coordinating the public sectors (de Boer, Leisyte, & Enders, 2006; Kooiman, 2000; Mayntz, 1998). Authorities and powers have been redistributed across the various policy levels. In many countries, coordination has changed from a classical form of regulation dominated by a single actor, the state, to forms in which various actors at various system levels coordinate the system ( multi level multi actor governance ) (van Kersbergen & van Waarden, 2001). Coordination increasingly takes place through interconnected policy levels with a substantial number of actors influencing agenda setting, policy development, policy determination, policy implementation, and evaluation (de Boer, Enders, & Leisyte, 2007). This development has been reflected in a growing literature that addresses the shift from government to governance. The social science literature shows an impressive list of definitions, concepts, and typologies on governance and the principle modes of coordination of social action. We can find dichotomies between markets and hierarchies; triangles with hierarchies, networks (clans), and markets; or quadrants distinguishing principles of coordination such as the community, the market, the state, and the association (Binsbergen, De Boer, & van Vught, 1994; Bradach & Eccles, 1991; March & Simon, 1958). What most researchers agree upon is that social coordination of modern societies should be analyzed in terms of a composite mix of coordination mechanisms and governance arrangements (Streeck & Schmitter, 1985). As Bradach and Eccles (1991) argue, the studies on social control mechanisms suggest that market, hierarchy, and relational contracting are useful concepts provided we recognize that they are independent and can be combined with each other in a variety of ways (p. 279).
29 29 We follow this line of reasoning as we address changes in governance in higher education and research more specifically Shifts in governance of higher education and research The analysis of higher education and research governance systems has been at the centre of higher education research for decades. Clark s classic triangle of coordination (1983) offers a good starting point for our discussion on the governance of higher education systems and the (supposed) changes. His triangle of coordination of higher education systems includes three axes: the state, the market, and the academic oligarchy. The three corners of the triangle represent, the extreme of one form and a minimum of the other two, and locations within the triangle represent combinations of the three elements in different degrees (Clark, 1983, p. 142). Clark refers to the US as a more market like coordination of higher education, and Sweden and the Soviet Union as examples of a more state oriented coordination (for the list of abbreviations, see Appendix I). The UK and Italy were drawn as examples of an academic oligarchy being the dominating form of coordination. Clark also stresses the existence of (unexpected) mixes of coordination mechanisms and related actor constellations: What strange bedfellows we find! In one case, bureaucrats and academic oligarchs work together, to ward off all political forces and to eliminate market interaction. In another, centralisation means that political figures and central administrators join together to control everything as much as possible and to declare professor sand market processes as unworthy coordinators. In still another, decentralisation means not a strengthening of the market but appeasement of academic oligarchs and s strengthening of guild like forms of linkage. (1979, pp ) Following his triangle, higher education systems in continental Europe traditionally were often analysed as being dominated by the state and the academic oligarchy. Universities as part of the public sector were indicated as professional bureaucracies (Mintzberg, 1983) which combined the political bureaucracy and professionals as the most influential actors in the steering of public sectors and their organisational units. In the Anglo Saxon model the state plays a smaller role, since the academic oligarchy is mostly influential and the authority distribution has combined faculty guilds with a modest amount of influence from institutional trustees and administrators (Clark, 1983, p. 127). Traditionally in this model universities are responsible for self management, each to admit its own students, to arrange its own courses, and to hire its own faculty; in that way it depended more on the market.
30 30 Further analytical and empirical investigations focused attention on the changing role of the state in the coordination of higher education and research. In the late 1980s and 1990s, widely acknowledged studies point to ongoing changes in the role of the state for many countries, though such changes did not take place at the same time, magnitude, or pace (Goedegebuure, Kaiser, Maassen, & De Weert, 1994; Neave & van Vught, 1991, Neave, 1988 #289). Maassen and van Vught (1994) propose two very influential models regarding the role of the state in higher education governance: state control and state supervision. In the state control model, a government closely regulates and finances higher education institutions. The model is based on the assumption of the rationalist perspective on top down decision making. It emphasizes the capacities of governmental actors to acquire comprehensive knowledge and to make the best decisions. It is an approach in which governmental actors try to steer an object by using stringent rules and extensive control mechanisms (Maassen & van Vught, 1994, p. 38). In terms of legitimacy, the state finds ways of intervening and imposing control under the umbrella of steering the nation s economy. Areas of control include access issues, degree requirements, curriculum, the examination system, and the appointment and remuneration of academics (Neave & van Vught, 1994, p. 8). In many countries centralized bureaucratic control by state authorities is accompanied by a strong position of the professional/academic oligarchy (Neave & van Vught, 1994, p. 7) while institutional leadership and management are weak and play a predominantly administrative role. In contrast, the state supervision model draws on the cybernetic perspective of decision making and is based on the principles of monitoring and feedback (Maassen & van Vught, 1994, p. 38). Higher education institutions are responsible for running their own daily functions and management. In this model, the state sees its task as to supervise the higher education system in terms of assuring academic quality and maintaining a certain level of accountability. As Neave and Van Vught note the state sees itself as a supervisor, steering from a distance and using broad terms of regulation (Neave & van Vught, 1994, p. 9). From an empirical point of view, the key argument is that many European universities were traditionally steered by tight rules and controlled by the nation states while more and more countries shifted towards some kind of state supervision model accompanied by a growing emphasis on mechanisms of self regulation, quality assurance, and accountability (Neave, 1988). Further attention is paid to the meanings of markets as a governance dimension in higher education that is sometimes closely linked to business like approaches in the management of universities. For countries where the state played a minor role in financing of public (or private) higher education and research and where universities had to find multiple sources of financing by bidding and competing, Clark has introduced the analogy of the market to
31 31 describe this kind of coordination via the famous invisible hand: The market form... is a type of interaction in which, in pure form, no one is in charge and matters are disaggregated (Clark, 1983, p. 30). Such self regulation via the market as an alternative to the rationalist steering via governmental regulation has found increasing interest in the study of governance in higher education and research (Braun & Merrien, 1999; Texeira et al., 2004). Among other things, this literature suggests that the use of market type coordination has found increasing attention among policy makers in charge of public sectors, including higher education and research. Strengthening competition among universities, academic units, and individual academics; performance based steering; and cost sharing in the provision of higher education exemplify the range of market mechanisms that may play an increasing role in the provision, steering, and organisation of universities. It is argued that the introduction of market type mechanisms in higher education is more appropriately addressed in terms of the emergence or strengthening of quasi markets : Quasi markets arise when governments fund institutions as if procuring services for their constituents... Students may exercise choice in deciding which institution to attend, for example, but the main element of market power is exercised by the state on their behalf. (Massy, 2004, p. 15) Many governments have been rather active in developing market driven systems. They have been stimulating competition among actors in the field. Funding research increasingly through competitive based grants and contracts provides a good example for such an attempt to strengthen competition between research providers in a quasi market. Obviously, competition has long been a feature of higher education; for example when it comes to the competition for human capital on the academic labour market or the competition for reputation as a social capital. What distinguishes these traditional forms of competition from more recent developments is their active experimentation with old and new instruments of market oriented policies that wish to enhance competition as an element in the external and internal governance of universities. Within the framework of the discussion on the modernisation of the state, further attention is paid to the strengthening of responsibility of administrative, quasi public, and societal institutions. One important element in this debate on changes in public sector coordination concerns the role of public sector organisations, their leadership, and management. A consequence of the introduction of new governance arrangements is that the university as a corporate actor has increasingly gained importance in exercising collective control. The university was for a long time almost invisible as an independent actor in the higher education policy arena. Institutional leaders and managers